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Vector Plans to Move Car Operations to Florida

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Vector Aeromotive Corp., the Wilmington sports car maker that made headlines a year ago when its founder barricaded himself in his office in a losing bid to keep control of the company, plans to move to Jacksonville, Fla., a Vector executive said Thursday.

Vector this year will move close to the offices of Lamborghini USA, the U.S. sales arm for the Italian sports car company, said Robert A. Braner, president of Lamborghini USA, who also was elected Vector’s president Thursday at the company’s annual meeting in Manhattan Beach.

Lamborghini is owned by Megatech Ltd., a Bermuda holding company and an affiliate of the Indonesian investor group that now holds a controlling interest in Vector’s publicly traded stock. Megatech bought Lamborghini last fall from Chrysler Corp.

Vector employs about 45 people, and they will be invited to relocate to Florida, Braner said.

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Vector was formed in 1987 by Gerald A. Wiegert to produce sleek, $448,000 cars that used advanced aerospace materials in their design. Vector also sold stock to the public to finance production--stock that climbed as high as $13 a share in 1989.

But Vector ended up selling fewer than 20 of the cars. In its fiscal years 1989 through 1993 (ended Sept. 30), the company lost $20.4 million on sales of $3.6 million, and its stock plunged. The stock closed Thursday at 62.5 cents, up 3.1 cents, in Nasdaq trading.

Last year, Vector’s investors and other directors--who were pressing for Vector to build a less expensive car for the 1990s--clashed with Wiegert and ultimately ousted the Detroit native from the firm.

Wiegert, in a desperate bid to keep control, changed the locks on the Vector facility, hired armed guards and barricaded himself in his office. Both sides went to court. Last September, a Superior Court judge ordered Wiegert to give up control. Both sides still have legal claims pending against each other, according to Vector’s latest proxy statement.

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Meanwhile, Vector has plans to build a new line of sports car, called the Avtech, that would cost less than $200,000 each. The company hopes to sell about 50 Avtechs in the 1995 model year.

Megatech is an affiliate of Setdco Engineering and V’Power Corp., two Indonesian-controlled firms that hold a majority of Vector’s stock, according to the proxy statement.


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